Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Life of Thanksgiving

Reflecting back on this month of thankfulness and acts of kindness today with a heart of gratitude.  Reading over each post from November (hey I managed to write every day!), I'm filled with a mixture of emotions.  Even though I was eager to start the project on the first day of November, I didn't know if I'd be able to keep it up the closer it drew to Austin's angel-versary.

All I can say is that through prayer (the many prayers of others) and a special helper above, I made it through the most difficult part of the year.  But I didn't just get through the days, I lived them with purpose, hope and even joy.  Of course there were tears, painful moments, and days lined in sorrow from the grief I still have, and always will face, but I expected it.  Pausing to be thankful or giving an act of kindness, even on those tough days, made the difference.

It's fairly obvious that an act of kindness would have that effect.  Giving feels good but it's more than that - kindness comes back to you.  Being kind is such a wonderful way to live, though not always easy.  One of the quotes I found while researching this month was from Mother Teresa and it expresses how I strive to live, though I often fail.

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."

I believe what made such a change in my attitude this month though was to pause and be thankful every day.  Surviving the wreck and child loss has more than taught me to appreciate the little things, to stop and see the sunrise, to be grateful for every moment, but some days I allow "life" to take over, to rush me, to overwhelm.  Purposefully noticing, almost meditating over moments of thankfulness changes you.  I focused on what was important to me, who I treasured, and I prayerfully gave gratitude for each and everyvthing.

Thanksgiving isn't just a day - not even just a month -
but something I hope to encompass every day of the year. 

"Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.
It's a way to live."

Today I'm thankful that my blessings fill more than 30 days in November.
No matter how difficult life is, there is always something to be thankful for.
JOY is everywhere, if you just look for it!


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